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The Devil and Bella Dodd

The latest episode of Girlboss, Interrupted just dropped, and if the connections between communism, the Catholic Church, and the country at large have ever piqued your interest, this one is for you.

I spoke with co-author of the book The Devil and Bella Dodd, Mary Nicholas, about the life and legacy of Bella Dodd: a midcentury communist activist and infiltrator of public life in America.

“Step by step, I retreated from God and went forth to meet the world, the flesh, and the devil. . . . I’d join the devil himself. . . . There is no doubt that I traveled with him at my side and that he extorted a great price for his company.”

This is how Bella Dodd (1904–69) described her long battle with atheistic communism, an ideology her Church calls a “satanic scourge.” She later described it as a “school of darkness,” a school of “hate,” a school for which she was a master organizer and infiltrator of every organization—public, private, and even ecclesiastical.

Bella Dodd courageously left the Communist Party and its diabolical machinations. Her former communist affiliates then smeared her with eerily familiar epithets to modern ears, dubbing her everything from a “fascist” to a “racist.” Some things never change. One thing that changed, however, was Bella Dodd. The man who helped pull her from the pit? A priest by the name of Fulton Sheen.

Bella Dodd’s story thereafter changed dramatically from one of seduction by the devil to redemption through Christ. She dedicated the remainder of her life to a special penance: warning the world of the evil of communism and its plans.